Louisville Fairness Ordinance Targeted
Government Merger Prompts Review of Existing Laws
[LOUISVILLE, KY] - Two groups have emerged with the goal of repealing existing city and county gay rights ordinances when the governments of the city of Louisville, Ky., and Jefferson County are merged next year.
The "Pro-Family" Coalition of Jefferson County held its first rally this month and plans to endorse a slate of candidates in the weeks to come. The second group is being organized by city council candidate Jeffrey Klusmeier, a Republican running in District 23, who says the Louisville ordinance is unfair to business and is unnecessary. Those council candidates who join his bipartisan coalition will be asked to sign a pledge saying they support repeal of both gay rights ordinances and would also back the issue's being decided by voters through a referendum.
The city ordinance bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Louisville and Jefferson County have adopted nearly identical ordinances, and under merger rules the county ordinance will apply to the city government. The city council, which takes office in January, has five years to pass its own version of the ordinance before it lapses.
C-FAIR, the political action group of the Fairness Committee, which supports the ordinances, has been polling and interviewing the candidates on a variety
of issues, including the ordinances. It recently endorsed candidates in 18 of the 26 council races. "We don't take this law for granted," said Dan Farrell, a C-FAIR board member. "We know we are going to have to get good candidates that will support it. If merged government is going to be a step forward, we can't then go and take a step backward by repealing this law."
Both opposition groups say they were prompted to organize after Democratic mayoral candidate, Jerry Abramson, stated that he supports the existing city ordinance and would veto the city council's attempt to repeal it.